AIAA Paper 2008-6228. Presented at the 26th AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference, August 18, 2008, pages 1-19. This article is in the public domain. Published by American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Russell M. Cummings was on sabbatical leave from Cal Poly.
The Modular Transonic Vortex Investigation (MTVI) program at NASA Langley Research Center investigated the transonic characteristics of generic fighter configurations with chined fuselages and delta wings. Previous experiments show that the fuselage and leading edge vortex interactions are detrimental to the vehicle’s aerodynamic characteristics for angles of attack greater than 23º at low angles of sideslip. This is largely due to abrupt asymmetric vortex breakdown, which leads to pronounced pitch-up and significant nonlinearities in lateral stability that could result in roll departure. An improved understanding of the exact origins of this nonlinear behavior would improve future fighter design, and predictive capabilities of such nonlinearities could drastically reduce the cost associated with flight testing new or modified aircraft. The nonlinearities experienced by the MTVI configuration at 30 degrees angle of attack, Reynolds number of 2.68x106, and Mach number of 0.4 are computed using Delayed Detached-Eddy Simulation. Computational predictions of rolling moment compare very well with previous wind tunnel experiments at the same conditions, including the abrupt, nonlinear increase in rolling moment as a function of sideslip angle at small sideslip angles. A detailed investigation of the CFD data confirms that this nonlinearity is due to a rapid change in the flow field structures from symmetric to asymmetric vortex breakdown.